Oil market recoils after bumper gains
LONDON - Global oil prices fell Monday, after bumper gains before the weekend, as many traders took profits and eyed plentiful world crude supplies, analysts said.
European benchmark Brent North Sea crude for April delivery dropped $1.26 to $61.32 a barrel in London early afternoon deals.
New York's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April shed 90 cents to $48.86 a barrel.
Crude futures had rebounded sharply Friday at the end of a volatile trading week. WTI had advanced $1.59 while Brent gained a hefty $2.53.
"Oil prices came under renewed pressure," said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou on Monday.
"Crude oil inventories continue to remain at fairly high levels following ongoing builds of crude stocks last week."
Oil has lost about 50 percent of its value since June, largely due to a global supply glut partially caused by surging US shale production.
"Although there is still a global supply glut, oil prices are on a general increasing trend especially with the falling rig count numbers indicating that US shale is responding to low prices," Ken Hasegawa, energy trading manager at Newedge Group in Tokyo, said.
The weekly Baker Hughes US drilling rig count showed the number of rigs in operation fell by 33 to 986 in the week to February 27. The count is down 39 percent since October, according to Bloomberg News.
Analysts said dealers will next be scrutinising a slew of US economic data to be released later Monday for clues on demand prospects in the world's biggest crude consumer.